Our Flow State
When I teach group fitness, I notice that my full experience seems both mindless yet gratifying/invigorating. Though it's a challenge any day I step in front of my participants, my skill level (and confidence) allow me to transcend past any of my initial nerves.
- I'm 'in the zone
- I'm completely absorbed
- I feel at one with what I'm doing
- I lose track of time, and it is intrinsically rewarding.
This pathway is also referred to as my flow state. Teaching in general energizes me and leads to peak performance.
While there are countless studies on the effects of negative experiences (e.g. fight or flight response), there are a fraction of studies that cover our emotions from positive experiences. Flow, which refers to a state of enlightened experience, can be a valuable tool in assessing our current positive psychology. Not only can it lead to personal growth, but it can also develop our skills on a granular level.
The activities that give us flow will always be personal to you, but may include:
Creative endeavors - painting, sculpting, knitting, cooking, etc.
Music - listening to music, playing an instrument, singing
Sport - skating, running, climbing,
Miscellaneous: gardening, chess, reading, dancing, and so on
Pretty much any daily activity can lead to a flow experience as long as it presents a challenge and you carry a medium to high skill level for that skillset! It's important to note that if the challenge far outweighs your current skill levels, anxiety/stress may be triggered. Can you make the task more achievable by breaking it down into smaller steps? Can you find new ways to increase your skill level? Conversely, if the activity is not demanding enough and your skill level is too high, boredom/apathy may result. In this situation, trying to find ways to make the activity more challenging by attaching a higher skill level may help with motivation.